Friday, July 27, 2012

OMG: Study shows, texting ruins grammar

Check out this story on "Tween grammar may suffer thanks to texting". Anybody have access to the article yet? A quick try didn't get it from the journal website (New Media & Society). The abstract (below) is all I've seen.

Texting, techspeak, and tweens: 
The relationship between text messaging and English grammar skills 
Drew P. Cingel Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
S. Shyam Sundar Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA and Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea 
The perpetual use of mobile devices by adolescents has fueled a culture of text messaging, with abbreviations and grammatical shortcuts, thus raising the following question in the minds of parents and teachers: Does increased use of text messaging engender greater reliance on such ‘textual adaptations’ to the point of altering one’s sense of written grammar? A survey (N = 228) was conducted to test the association between text message usage of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students and their scores on an offline, age-appropriate grammar assessment test. Results show broad support for a general negative relationship between the use of techspeak in text messages and scores on a grammar assessment, with implications for Social Cognitive Theory and Low-Road/High-Road Theory of Transfer of Learning. These results indicate that adolescents may learn through observation in communication technologies, and that these learned adaptations may be transferred to standard English through Low-Road transfer of learning. Further mediation analyses suggest that not all forms of textual adaptation are related to grammar assessment score in the same way. ‘Word adaptations’ were found to be negatively related to grammar scores, while ‘structural adaptations’ were found to be non-significant.


Jonathon said...

I've got access to it. I'll try to read it sometime this weekend.

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks. Let us know what you think.

Somebody just got me a copy ... I'll be offline for a while but I'm pretty surprised at what I see in there so far.

Monica said...

Well, at least in the abstract they do say "written grammar" once. The thing is, do the data just concern spelling, or do they actually have info about the structure of written sentences? And of course it is to be expected that having once said "written grammar" they will drop the distinction and just talk about "grammar", thus making linguists' heads explode.